"ALL DELIBERATE SPEED" REQUIRED
A miracle has happened! The PPT (oil tax bill) is about ready for floor debate.That’s good news. Our vote on the PPT, and votes on the infinite number of amendments, will be the most momentous votes we’ll every cast, however long we are privileged to have our constituents send us down here. I think we can all agree on that.
And, we need to cast those votes with “all deliberate speed.” This is not the time to play political games and kindergarten politics. The stakes are simply too high.
I’m hearting talk, and even seeing in the newspaper and on TV, that some folks want to delay our votes on the PPT, and even the gas pipeline, until we get a new governor. I think that’s totally irresponsible. The governor isn’t the issue. Political parties aren’t the issue. Members of the legislature are not the issue. Elections are not the issue.
The PPT and the gas pipeline are the issues, and those issues must and should be decided on what we perceive are the merits of the bills and contract – not who negotiated them. That’s what’s important. Nothing else.
We must act “with all deliberate speed,” and act with the team that’s now in place. Next year there may be a new governor – who knows? The entire forty members of the House and half the Senate are up for re-election. Who’s coming back? Who knows? But whatever happens, there’ll be new committee chairs, new committee memberships, and at least some new faces in both the legislature and administration.
If we delay our votes on the PPT and gas pipeline until the 25th Legislature in January 2007, we’ll have to start all over at ground zero on the very same issues that face us now. And Alaska will lose multiple millions of dollars in the process, because of short-sighted politics and procrastination. Yes, we do need to study the issues. But no, we mustn’t study ourselves into “paralysis by analysis.” We must not allow that to happen.
In the coming days, Mr. Speaker, we certainly need to study the issues carefully, and cast our votes in a timely manner – hopefully before this legislature adjoins Tuesday evening. Indecision, for whatever reason is the worst possible outcome. Not making a decision is also a decision – and a very bad decision. To do our duty, we must act with “all deliberate speed.””